Winners of 14 of their last 15, Stanford baseball has put itself into position for a national seed. The Cardinal have not lost a home game in over a month and sustained their longest winning streak since 1999 from mid-April to early May. Stanford has also raised their RPI to number 10 in the country, a remarkable mark. With this phenomenal streak, Stanford has laid the foundation for a top seed in the upcoming NCAA tournament.
Stanford began their winning ways with a midweek win over rival Cal. The game was a milestone win for head coach Mark Marquess, who notched his 1,600th career victory. Since that game, Stanford has gone 19-4 while winning five of their six conference matchups. Most notably, the Cardinal swept visiting top-10 Arizona in a pivotal three-game series. This recent winning streak has propelled them to the second spot in the Pac-12 standings and into the top 10 in most national polls.
No. 9 in the nation!?
— Stanford Baseball (@StanfordBSB) May 15, 2017
The postseason tournament awards home-field advantage to the top 16 teams in the country, which is a critical upper hand in the first round. The top eight teams in the country are also guaranteed home-field advantage in the super regionals, if they were to make it that far. The top teams are decided by a postseason committee, who take strength of schedule, RPI, resume, and quality wins into account while making their decisions.
Stanford has clinched their postseason berth, and are now fighting for position in the tournament. As of now, Stanford is arguably deserving of at least a top-16 seed, as well as a national seed. However, they still have work to do. They finished up their three-game series with Cal yesterday and will play the two Washington schools to wrap up their schedule. Despite their records, both teams will be a challenge, as they will be trying to pad their resumes with quality wins. For Stanford, both these series are must-wins. Yet even with wins at the latter end of their schedule, it will be no guarantee of a national seed.
One thing the committee will examine is their lack of production against #1 Oregon State. Stanford was dominated in all three games, as they were outscored 25-8. No team is expected to beat the talented Beavers in a series, but top teams are expected to at least contend with them. Despite these three losses, Stanford still owns a 7-4 record versus the RPI top 25, which is an acceptable mark.
Stanford has had a remarkable season thus far, and will hope to receive recognition of this in the form of a national seed. With their quality resume and high RPI, along with a strong finish to the season, a national seed is definitely possible. Yet Stanford baseball will contend in the postseason no matter where they are seeded.